According to a report from the Washington Post's Philip Rucker, Donald Trump's continued changes in direction on what he wants to do -- which changes from day to day -- has some advisers upset as his re-election campaign slowly collapses.
The report notes that the president did a turnaround about wearing masks during the COVID-19 health crisis this past week, throwing aside weeks of soft-selling it to the public, and now he can't seem to make up his mind about what should be included in the next round of coronavirus aid aimed at propping up the economy.
In particular, the president had been adamant about a payroll tax cut as a centerpiece of the package -- and now he has abandoned it after getting push-back from members of his own party.
Writing, "For Trump, this has been a week of retreat," Rucker added, "The president has been the one backing down from long-held positions in the face of resistance from fellow Republicans or popular opposition, scrambling to resurrect his reelection campaign while the coronavirus continues to ravage the nation."
According to Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to the president, he can't fathom why the president backed off his earlier proposal.
“I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong, how the wheels came off on the payroll tax cut,” Moore lamented “Certainly there’s been a retreat on that issue, and it’s frustrating to me because I think President Trump really wanted to do a payroll tax cut.”
The report notes that after three and a half years of smooth sailing, Trump is finally being confronted by a Republican-controlled Senate that sees a president headed to defeat in November and is looking out for their own interests.
According to presidential historian Timothy Naftali, any goodwill the president may have had with members of his party has dried up.
“The good ship Trump has sprung a leak, and it’s leaking political capital,” Naftali explained. "I don’t think the president is pivoting. I think the president is backtracking because he is facing head winds, and those are head winds from elected Republicans.”
According to the WaPo report, "Trump has since come to terms with the reality that the virus is worsening — as opposed to disappearing, as he has predicted it would — and that many Americans are apprehensive about mass gatherings and want to proceed cautiously, according to a former senior administration official briefed on Trump’s decision-making calculations."
Historian Douglas Brinkley added "Trump is trying to do a giant reset,” to stave off defeat and that it is nothing new among embattled presidents.
"Right when you think a politician is set in stone, you can get a makeover. These are the games politicians play,” he suggested.
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